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US: Skagit County potato farmers lost crops due to heavy rain

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Potato farmers in Skagit County in Washington State suffered big losses after they were unable to harvest some of their crops.

Farmers were unable to harvest an estimated 3 square miles of potatoes in the fall, with losses valued between $5 million and $10 million, The Skagit Valley Herald reported.

Don McMoran of the Washington State University Skagit County Extension said farmers often do not harvest some land each season, but a loss of that size is rare. Farmers are also worried about the condition of potatoes they harvested that are sitting in storage, McMoran said.

“When you harvest under wet conditions, you’re going to have the potential for more disease concerns,” he said.

Potatoes are Skagit County’s most valuable crop, bringing in about $60 million to growers annually, according to extension statistics.

Darrin Morrison of Morrison Farms south of Mount Vernon said an unusually wet September and a storm that dumped up to 2 inches of rain in a few days was a setback for growers. “It saturated the soil and we didn’t have a cushion to take normal rains we get” later in the fall, Morrison said.

Source: The Skagit Valley Herald

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